Things You'll Need
Propane line cap, pipe wrench
New chimney or flue liner and vent cap
Wood-burning fireplace liner
Fireplace bricks, mortar
New damper fitting
Improperly installed or vented fireplaces can be serious fire and smoke hazards. Seek the assistance of a chimney specialist to establish what is required to achieve a functioning wood burning setup and establish a plan of work for you to follow if you are proceeding as a DIY project.
Converting a propane fireplace to a functional, traditional wood-burning fireplace can be done provided key safety requirements are met. The most important of these requirements is a metal chimney flue that is wide enough, is lined properly and draws properly. If these conditions do not exist with your existing chimney vent, it will need to be replaced. The second key factor is whether the existing propane firebox has the clearances and specifications to accommodate both the weight and heat stress of a wood-burning fire or if it, too, must be replaced. Because of the necessary chimney inspection, exhaust and draw analysis required as well as the safe removal of the propane source, converting a propane fireplace is not really a job for inexperienced DIYers and will require the assistance of a chimney and fireplace professional.
Determine and Adjust Chimney Capacity
Locate the manufacturer's information for your currently installed propane firebox and chimney setup. If you cannot locate this information, a chimney specialist must determine the specifications of what is installed.
Turn off the propane and disable the connection. If firebox is not designed for dual propane and wood burning and cannot be retrofitted, pull the firebox liner out of position and discard. Cap and seal the propane-supply pipe.
Install a new chimney flue liner or new chimney stack to accommodate the exhaust and stack effect required for a wood-burning fireplace your size. Install a vent cap if necessary to control draw and drafts or to manage in extreme weather climates.
Slide in a replacement firebox that is designed for wood-burning fires. Install new damper assembly. If not using a new firebox, line the firebox with fireplace bricks and mortar.
Install wood grate and set fireplace doors or screen.
A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.